7 Best Pool Skimmers for Above Ground Pools & Inground Pools
A dirty swimming pool is not only gross but also poses a significant health risk. With the right pool chemicals, following a routine cleaning schedule and the best pool skimmer, you can easily keep your pool clean and healthy.
Skimmers help remove floating debris, algae and other kinds of junk in the pool. Besides helping clean the pool, they ensure trash does not end up clogging your filtration system.
When it comes to choosing one, you need to pick the right type, ensure it is durable enough and also that it will give you an easy time when it comes to installation. However, the choice should be a breeze with our review of some top skimmer models and a buyer’s guide.
7 Best Pool Skimmers – Review
1. Best Overall: Swimline 8039SL Heavy Duty Leaf Skimmer
Swimline 8039SL is our best overall skimmer thanks to the heavy-duty construction and the easy to use and convenient design.
The construction includes a super-strong structural molded frame that uses a heavy-duty plastic material. Also, the design features a fine-mesh basket that, besides being highly durable, will also pick out even the tiniest debris.
The basket also has a tapered front edge design that makes the skimmer easier to use as it helps in scooping. What’s more, the skimmer includes a nice handle that will make it easy to connect a pole, and it is also relatively more affordable.
The only concern some pool owners might have with this leaf skimmer is that it does not come with a pole. However, this should not be a significant drawback for its price, and the chances are you already have a pole that you can use if you are a pool owner.
- Solid construction for maximum durability
- Designed for easy scooping
- Picks up even tiny debris
- Relatively more affordable
- Pole not included
2. Best for the Money: ProTuff Unlimited Free Replacement Pool Nets
ProTuff Unlimited Free Replacement Pool Nets is a professional-grade skimmer that comes at a more affordable price tag to ensure you get the best value for your money.
You can be sure it will be many years before you ever need to replace this skimmer, thanks to the heavy-duty overall construction. The build includes a super-strong aluminum alloy frame that does not twist, bend or break even when the basket is full.
The basket has a deep and durable nylon material with double stitching to ensure it holds up well for many years. What’s more, the basket offers a higher debris capacity as it can hold up to 50 pounds to minimize the frequency of dumping debris.
The company backs this skimmer with a lifetime replacement guarantee to assure you that it will last and that you have nothing to lose if it breaks as you get a replacement.
One gripe with this skimmer is that the net is quite stiff, making emptying a little awkward. However, it should get more flexible as you use it more.
- Great bargain given its quality
- Heavy-duty frame and basket
- Higher debris capacity
- Backed by a 100% lifetime guarantee
- Nest is quite stiff when new
3. Best Wall Mount: Intex Deluxe Wall Mount Surface Skimmer
If you do not have the time for manual pool skimming or hate the job, an automatic skimmer like the Intex Deluxe Wall Mount Surface Skimmer is perfect. The wall-mounted skimmer attaches to your filter pump for automatic skimming.
Installing it should also not take a lot of time or effort as it comes with an adjustable bracket that makes the process faster and more flexible as you get more mounting options.
You can also be sure the skimmer will serve you well for long enough as it has a rugged polypropylene plastic construction that can withstand harsh pool chemicals. Also, the strainer basket is easy to pull out, which ensures fast and easy cleaning.
This pool skimmer does not work very well for pools that have low flow rate pumps. However, provided your pump has at least 800 GPH, it will do an excellent job for you. The instructions are also not very good, but this should not be a big deal given how easy it is to install.
- Attaches to filter pump for automatic skimming
- Quick and flexible installation
- Heavy-duty plastic build
- Easy cleaning with removable strainer basket
- Does not work well with low flow rate pumps
- Instructions are not the best
4. Best for Above Ground Pools: Hayward SP1091LX Dyna-Skim Above-Ground Pool Skimmer
Hayward SP1091LX is an excellent skimmer for those that have above ground pools. It includes a large capacity basket that will ensure it holds more debris before you need to empty, which reduces your workload.
When it comes to removing debris from the skimmer, the job should also be quick and easy, thanks to the snap-in and removable weir. Also, the skimmer is relatively easy to set up as it comes with a few components and clear direction on where each goes.
You can also be sure of getting a long enough service life from this pool skimmer, thanks to the heavy-duty ABS construction. Better yet, the material is also UV-resistant to ensure the skimmer holds up well under the sun.
You can use this pool skimmer on most above ground pools as it can also work for those with wide top seats.
The poor instructions are one of the few drawbacks of this pool skimmer. However, given its superior quality and the fact you should still be able to figure it out, this should not be the deal-breaker.
- Holds more debris
- Heavy-duty construction
- Removable weir for easy cleaning
- Works for wide top seat pools
- Instructions are not very good
5. SkimmerMotion – The Automatic Pool Cleaner, Skimmer & Clarifier
With this SkimmerMotion skimmer, you get a handy tool that will do much more for your pool besides skimming. It helps keep your water clean and clear as it also cleans and works as a clarifier.
Besides the multifunction design, the skimmer cleans all parts of the pool. It moves parallel to your bottom vacuum cleaner, ensuring it reaches where no other devices will get to and clean even the walls.
Overall, this pool skimmer is also more energy-efficient and will not require any batteries. Also, it does not have any movable parts, which means almost zero maintenance for you.
Pool owners will also love that this skimmer helps minimize the usage of chemicals in your pool. And its compact and sleek design ensures it looks great in the pool.
This pool skimmer will not be very useful when dealing with large leaves and other more significant debris. However, the manufacture makes this clear in the description. Also, given its effectiveness at removing small particles and debris, this should not be a big concern.
- Does much more besides skimming
- Gets to every part of the pool
- Energy-efficient with no batteries required
- Looks great in the pool
- Not suitable for removing big leaves
6. Swimline Aluminum Handle Pool and Spa Skimmer
For those that have small pools and spas, this skimmer from Swimline will be a perfect choice. The skimmer is just the right size to allow you to remove debris from the small pools quickly and without straining.
The pool skimmer includes an ultra-fine mesh that will help you remove the tiniest contaminants, including pet hair and dirt. This mesh is also quite durable to ensure it serves you well for a long time.
The skimmer comes with an aluminum handle that will last much longer than the cheap plastic ones you get on other small skimmers. Also, this handle is lightweight enough to make the skimmer easier to hold and use.
The end cap on the handle seems to be the weak point for this pool skimmer as it keeps falling off. However, this should not prevent you from giving the skimmer a try. Also, for its size, it is a little pricier, but the quality and service it provides make it worth paying a few extra bucks.
- Heavy-duty handle
- Picks up the tiniest debris
- Highly affordable
- Lightweight and easy to use
- End cap on the handle is not very secure
- A little pricier
7. Swimline Professional Heavy Duty Deep-Bag Pool Rake
If you plan to do a big clean-up job, this professional-quality pool rake from Swimline will be a good buy. It includes a deeper bag that will hold lots of debris to ensure you can tackle larger jobs without having to keep emptying.
Also, the skimmer includes a fine mesh basket that allows it to scoop out all kinds of debris, from leaves and bugs to other types of pool trash.
Besides the high-quality and deep basket, the pool skimmer includes a super-strong molded handle that will ensure it never bends or breaks under load. Also, it has a convenient handle that allows you to connect most types of telescoping vacuum handles quickly.
The holes on the net seem a little bigger, which means this skimmer will not be able to trap some tiny contaminants. However, its primary purpose is to scoop out the medium and large debris as the filtration system takes care of the tiny ones.
- Holds more debris thanks to the deeper bag
- Scoops most contaminant types
- Sturdier molded frame
- Works with most poles
- Net holes seem a little bigger
Guide to Buy the Best Pool Skimmer
1. Skimmer Type
Skimmers are available in four main types: manual, automatic, self-contained and built-in skimmers. Therefore, your choice should start by understanding what each type is all about and both its merits and demerits.
Manual skimmers are the most basic type and also the most affordable option. These are just fine mesh bags that attach to a long pole and look like a large fishing net.
When using them, you have to walk around the pool, scooping out the debris from the surface, which takes more effort and time.
An automatic skimmer will attach to the pool’s pump inlet and allow you to get rid of debris without ever having to do it manually.
With an automatic skimmer like the SkimmerMotion SKM-10 Skimmer, you can be sure most of the pool will get cleaned. These skimmers include small propellers and paddles that allow them to move around the pool in randomized motion to clean most of it.
These skimmers have not been around very long, but they are slowly becoming popular. They float in the water and move around to filter out both large and small particles. Also, they can be either battery or solar-powered, but they are often more expensive.
Built-in skimmers are part of the pool’s structure. These skimmers are a small gutter-like opening that you will see around the waterline in many swimming pools.
Some pools can have several of these skimmers, and they connect to the plumbing system, which allows them to cause some suction to draw in debris.
2. Debris Capacity
Another crucial factor to keep in mind when deciding the best skimmer to buy is the debris capacity. The debris capacity applies for all skimmer types as they will hold the debris and require emptying once they fill up.
If you do not want to keep emptying your pool skimmer every other day, it is essential to make sure it has a large capacity.
A large capacity is also crucial for ensuring the skimmer will not affect the water flow by filling up fast and causing an obstruction. The suitable capacity depends on the skimmer type, but a manual model with a 50-pound capacity like the ProTuff Unlimited Free Replacement Pool Nets is excellent.
3. Durability and UV Resistance
Skimmers are not the costliest pool cleaning equipment, but you still do not want to keep buying a new one every season. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure what you choose is durable enough.
Something with a solid construction that uses heavy-duty materials should last much longer than those made with light gauge plastic.
A skimmer with a super-strong aluminum frame and a double-stitched nylon bag like the ProTuff Unlimited Free Replacement Pool Nets is a perfect example of a highly durable model.
Since your pool’s filtration system will most likely be outdoors most of the time, you also need to make sure the skimmer you choose is UV resistant. UV rays will not just fade your skimmer but also speed up the deterioration of the material.
4. Ease of Installation
If you are planning to get a skimmer that requires some installation, such as the automatic types, it is crucial to ensure it will give you an easy time with the setup.
A model that comes with all the hardware and fittings you need for installation and some straightforward, easy to follow directions on everything you need to do will give you the easiest time.
You need the best pool skimmer to keep your pool debris-free and ensure the water remains clean and inviting. Luckily, there are plenty of good options, and our guide above explains how to choose the right one.
If you are on the market for one, the Swimline 8039SL Heavy Duty Leaf Skimmer is our top overall recommendation as it ticks every important box from the build quality to price and ease of use.
That said, if you are looking for something that will give you good value for money, go for the ProTuff Unlimited Free Replacement Pool Nets. For a heavy-duty skimmer with a 50-pound debris capacity, it is hard to get a better bargain than this.